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It can be quite a shock to the system; after nine months of blooming pregnancy you suddenly find your life consumed by this tiny being – that totally relies on you for absolutely everything.
Your life has been altered irrevocably - emotionally, financially and physically. Though returning to work may be the last thing on your mind as you wave goodbye to the maternity ward, what happens to the career you’ve been building up since your working life began? Have you been relegated to the starting point, or will your career wait for you to raise your brood?
Life as a new parent is bound to be very different, whether you have a partner, or you’re raising your child single-handedly. Although there is support for lone parents, it could mean that your career has to stop because childcare is an insurmountable issue.
This seems more than unfair. Why shouldn’t a woman, and it is usually the woman in these cases, be able to have both - a baby and a successful career?
Raising a family and juggling a demanding job as a lone parent with little practical support, will undoubtedly be harder than those families who are able to share their burden.
But it’s not impossible. Lone parents wishing to continue their career following the birth of their child should take into consideration:
Some contact centres in Scotland have on-site crèches which can be a godsend to lone parents; however, this is just one industry sector and there are many others that don’t offer the same support.
Help is at hand - the organisation One Parent Family Scotland offers guidance and support as well as a helpline.
Their services are:
OPFS provides vital childcare services - allowing parents respite and time to work, learn, and develop their skills.
Flexible childcare services - family support and information services
OPFS offers specialist information and support in Dundee, Falkirk, Edinburgh, and Glasgow.
OPFS provides expert information and support to lone parents and related agencies.
Engagement and employability services - OPFS enables lone parents to discover new talents, enter education, training or work.
This topic is not only evocative to lone parents but should also prompt employers to ask themselves some searching questions about whether they’re a family friendly organisation, able to attract the best talent in the marketplace - regardless of personal situation. And if you’re a lone parent, OPFS should prove to be a valuable resource.
There is no reason why you should need to – or be forced to - put your life on hold just because you have a child. Support is out there. Take control of both your personal life and your career; provide for your child emotionally and financially.
Have no doubt,doubt; a fulfilled mother is an excellent role model to their child.
NURTURING YOUR CAREER
Louise Wightman is a qualified coach and works as a business and social media consultant. She is based in Glasgow and works freelance. Her website is www.approachthecoach.co.uk.